A quarantine friend

Next: Unexpected gifts

How does this work? Each newsletter you’ll see one reader’s answer to the previous week’s question. Then you’ll see the question they have for the list, which you can respond to if you’d like. Or you can just read and enjoy. [Spring 2021 pledge: this is going to come out far more regularly!]

Previous ask:

Tell me about a friend you’ve made during quarantine.

Connor answers:

I work at a grocery store so I haven't really been quarantined, but I have become fast friends with one of my coworkers during the pandemic.  I haven't been able to see any friends my age in months, but I look forward to seeing him every week.  He's eighty-something and I'm in my late twenties.  He's a Vietnam War veteran and I live with my parents.  I'm at least a head taller than him.  We make quite a pair.  

At the beginning, we would talk about how empty the shelves were and compare how many times customers asked us where the hand sanitizer and toilet paper were.  He went from greeting everyone in the department with a handshake to an elbow bump.  We got used to wearing masks for 8 hours a day.  For a while, I tried working nights and slept during the day.  When I switched back, he was still there plugging away.  He's the hardest worker in the department.  Most of the time, he would be in aisle 10 and I would be in 11. We worked through managers leaving and new coworkers joining, and struggled through a busy holiday season. We got pretty good at making bales of crushed cardboard boxes. 

Sometimes we chat about some of the old music the store plays on the radio, like Fleetwood Mac and Rod Stewart.  He showed me a picture of him and his wife disco dancing that he keeps in his wallet, and I really got a kick out of it.  Mostly though, we just whine about how much work we have to do or how much we're looking forward to our days off.  When I tell him I've got a day off coming up, he'll say something like, "oh good, you deserve it" and that always makes me smile. 

Thankfully, neither of us have gotten the virus over the past year.  He got his first shot of the vaccine a couple weeks ago and I'm hoping to get mine soon. 

Connor asks:

What is a gift you weren't expecting to receive, but really appreciated once you got it? 

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